Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vegetable Harvest Continues

The vegetable crew has also been hard at it in the harvest of those plots.  However, unlike the crops crew, this harvest is all by hand.  Like here are all the tomatoes from a plot.  But this is just part of the job as they have to be sorted by color to get per cent greens and reds.  Hard work indeed. Stop by if you ever wanted to be a researcher.  At least you can eat what you pick.  And they still donate picked produce to the food bank as has been done for years.
Here is Jake cutting celery from those plots on Farm 12.  This is the first celery crop grown at the NCRS and it looks great.
Apparently you have to cut the bunches uniformly like you see in the store.  So Brian uses this board contraption to do that.
The apple coloring applications still are intriguing. I pointed out in a previous blog post that the leaves will sometimes prevent uniform coverage of the nutritional spray application.  Here is a view of what the Honeycrisp variety apple looks like sprayed and un-sprayed. 
Here are some more.  I still think they should try covering up part of the apple with letters to spell out words or phrases.  But some work on improved coverage technique will be done in the future, maybe with some equipment folks.
Always something new and exciting.

Weekend Warriors

So the rainy weather has gotten in the way of soybean harvest, but the past weekend provided some good days to get some harvesting and wheat planting completed.  Stephanie gave me these pictures to show how she spent her weekend.  This view of the combine cutting 30" row beans shows that the border rows are cut first and then the middle four rows are harvested for yield determination.  We always remove border rows no mater the row spacing or crop being harvested.
 Round and round they go.  Here is Stephanie's view from the scaled grain cart following Tim in the combine.  And who is that in the tractor?  Why it's our dedicated CEO Troy.  He was glad for the opportunity to step in and help on the weekend.  He is often seen hiding in the bushes looking longingly at the operation of all the field equipment that he has bought for us.  So occasionally it is good to let him take the wheel. 
 Impending sunset makes for a nice view of finishing up a test on Farm 5.
Sadly the rain has returned on Monday and Tuesday.  But it's good for the wheat.  (Trying to look on the bright side of the gloomy day.)

Research Field Day Plots Give Hint of Best Corn Program for 2015

(Note: The Fall issue of the AgroLiquid Quarterly Newsletter just came out.  However there was an error in my article where for some reason the correct picture was not included in the article.  So my descriptions in the article are not clear for the pictures that were printed.  So here is the article in its original form for those that don't know what I am talking about.  Which is a common occurrence, but this time I had an excuse.)

The recently completed Research Field Days showed AgroLiquid fertilizers in action.  Well maybe action is a little strong, but results of the use of AgroLiquid were clearly on display in many venues.  Take, for instance, one of the research plot stops on Farm 7.  Several different corn fertilizer applications were on display.  There were full rate conventional fertilizer programs for potash/10-34-0/28% plus an all dry treatment.  There was the comparable AgroLiquid treatment along with a treatment with conventional fertilizers, but at a greatly reduced rate of application to closely match that of the AgroLiquid program.  And then there was a nitrogen only treatment, so that the effects of the P and K fertilizers could be measured.  The same treatments were applied last year in this experiment as well, but in the adjacent test to enable a corn-soybean rotation.  On the field day itself, I went into the border rows for these treatments and pulled three adjacent ears as well as some roots that were dug.  They are on display in the picture, along with the yields from 2013 and then the pounds of N-P2O5-K2O for each treatment.  (Note: in the conventional treatments, two years worth of potash is applied after the previous soybean crop for the next year of corn and then the following soybean crop.)

There is certainly a visual difference in the ears. The full rate conventional and AgroLiquid ears are all larger than those of the N only treatment (4).  Furthermore, the ears of the AgroLiquid treatment (5) are also much larger than the low rate conventional treatment (1), even though virtually the same rates of fertility was applied.  So I guess the adage: It’s nutrients, not numbers rings true here.  The nutrient technology used to make AgroLiquid more efficient is clearly seen.  The roots also showed the Liquid advantage for a larger root system to better explore the soil.  Furthermore, the yield in 2013 with AgroLiquid was greater with AgroLiquid vs all programs, but especially vs the equal rate of conventional.  So let advanced nutrient technology be your guide in 2015.  Higher yields with lower rates (more acres planted between fill-ups) and planter applied P and K to save trips.  Of course the plot harvest coming up later will complete the story.  But indications are strong for AgroLiquid.  So when making decisions for next year, don’t cut what is research-proven for higher yield.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Trench Duty

(Note: This first picture is the so-called "featured image" for the agroliquid web site, and I will install it first from now on for the blogger version too.  It's kind of artsy, don't you think?)
 So we started the installation of subsurface drip irrigation on Farm 12 earlier in the summer.  The drip tape was buried in the spring and since then the farm crew has been installing the feeder and drainage pipes, and connecting the tape to them.  I have shown some of it in a previous blog and I always said that I would help.  Well I am running out of time.  I stopped by Tuesday and saw Kalvin and Mitch at work digging and laying pipe.  Truck driver Kevin, on loan from Ashley, and Phil were there as well.  I vowed that I would show up on Wednesday ready to help.  It has been said that I do the work of two men....Laurel and Hardy.
They had it down to a specialized procedure.  The pipe at the bottom of the trench is at the end of the irrigation run.  The tape is on 30 inch spacing, and runs under each row in the field.  Phil assembles and slides the "L" shaped tubes into the drip tape and secures it with wire.  Kevin drills holes in the pipe.  And I had the most important job of fitting the tubes into the pipe.  Well that's what I thought anyway.  The drip tape itself is around 16" or so deep.  This is the view of the tubes awaiting connection.
 Kevin is drilling holes 30" apart as that is the tape spacing.  A crop row is over each tape run, now and forever.  Recall that we use GPS guidance in the field to know where everything is.
I have mentioned that the soil on Farm 12 is kind of unusual for the area.  The soil is classified as a Sebewa Loam with clay loam at 11 inches deep.  The top is black and has high organic matter and the clay is very hard when dry.  So this drip irrigation will help.
Here is a view of a completed section.  We did turn on the water to charge the lines and check for leaks.  There were only a couple that were fixed.  It would be harder when filled in.  In the very top "feature" picture you can see that there are two lines of soil along the trench.  When Mitch digs, he puts a line of the clay soil and a line of the loam soil.  Then it will be filled back in with the proper soil arrangement.  We are here to act in harmony with nature, not to mess it up.
Well we got to the end of the current trench, and Mitch and the back hoe were having issues.  There is still a long way to go, so I guess we will have to do it the old fashioned way.
Well I guess now I can say that I helped.  Things will get back to normal after that, I'm sure.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Melon & Pumpkin Contest Here in St. Johns

So the weekend before last was the big giant pumpkin and watermelon contest at Andy T's Farm Market here in St. Johns.  It's an annual event featured annually here in the blog.  Why?  Because Liquid's own specialty crop researchers Brian and Tim have entries each year.  Sadly I was away and missed it, but Tim's wife Pauline provided this photo-account.  Below are some of the giant pumpkin entrants awaiting the call to the scales.  Not sure about the genetics, but I like a bright orange pumpkin compared to the pale ones.  But beauty is sacrificed for size it appears.
 Here is Brian's pumpkin from Farm 12 of the NCRS.  It was a whopping 779 pounds.  That was an improvement over the previous years and a good sized gourd.  However, first place was 1656 pounds!  And second was 1655 pounds!  That was a neck and neck finish, or maybe stem and stem. Brian finished in the top half of the 29 the entries which is pretty good.  But he has so many other responsibilities at the NCRS that sometimes he missed story hour and morning snack with his pumpkin.  I told him to go out next year and shoot for a thousand pounder.  But he will be back.
But Tim was once again the Watermelon King.  He successfully defended his title with a gushing 224 pound melon.  Tim grew his with AgroLiquid, but is a little tight lipped with all of his secrets for success.  It doesn't matter, just keep winning Tim.  Congratulations!
So I'm sure that they already have next year's contest date circled on the calendar.  And you know results will be reported here.  So see you next year. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall Field Crop Work Underway

So the fall has been pretty rainy so far, but last Monday it was clear and dry long enough to hit the field and start some harvest action.  Here we see some Navy Bean plot harvesting on Farm 7.  Unfortunately, with the cool season the bean plants didn't size up as much as normal.  But harvest them none-the-less to measure treatment effects. 
 There were two Navy bean tests, on Farms 3 and 7.  Since soybean harvest will be late this year, again due to the cool summer, the winter wheat plots will follow Navy Beans.  Taking advantage of the dry day, the wheat plots were planted into the evening.
 Time out for a few days of rain, and then back to sunflower harvest on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, some of the fall Strip Till plots were established on wheat ground for planting next spring.  Strip till plots will evaluate product placement, different nutrient formulations and rates in combination with planter applications.  Stephanie used her photo artistry for this shot.  Or she had tripped and clicked this before hitting the ground. Probably the former.
Well more rain has set in, and probably need a few days of sun and dryness to help with crop maturity.  But now we know everything works and is ready to roll when conditions allow.

Back to Blogger

So now what's going on?
The last Blog post from here was a moving announcement.  Well I tried the new place, but I like the Blogger much better for putting these posts together.  Plus there was no easy way to move the bank of 426 blogs from the past over to the website, and I don't throw anything away.  Ask anyone.  And these are e-mailed directly to many of the loyal followers.  So I will still post here, and then paste it into the website for further viewing pleasure.  As a teaser, there will be a cool so-called "feature picture" at the start of NCRS Blog post (link is at website page bottom.) So please visit the www.agroliquid.com website on a regular basis for all sorts of news and product information.